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Extract from an Admiralty document of 1850 on ways to stop the slave trade
(Catalogue ref: ADM 7/606)
Admiralty, May 6th, 1850.


The Lords of the Admiralty have asked me to ask you for information or suggestions about ways to make the campaign of Her Majesty's government against the slave trade more effective.

Their Lordships would like you to tell them about the ideas gained from your experience, in the fullest and most open way. And their Lordships will consider your communications confidential.

Their Lordships do not wish to influence your observations, but they suggest some points for you to consider:
1. Whether cruising inshore is effective compared to other systems of cruising that might be used.
2. The best type of ships for the service.
3. Whether captured slave ships could be used as cruisers.
4. The best ways to keep regular contact between Brazil, England and the Cape of Good Hope [in South Africa].
5. Whether destroying the Barracoons, by lawful means, would help stop the slave trade.
6. How the crews of the captured slavers should be dealt with and whether measures could be taken that punish them more than is done now (without any change to the present law).
7. Whether the present way of distributing bounty should be changed, and if so, how?
8. What are the best ways to supply the squadron with fuel and food?

You will direct your answer to me, marked confidential.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,

Source 2b

[Some responses from the commanders to question 6 (best punishments for the slavers):]

Commander C Hall
Captured slavers' crews should be closely watched, and all their valuables taken from them and shared among the crew that captured them. They should be turned loose on shore on the most unfriendly part of the coast, with little clothing, to take their chance. This is the greatest punishment we have at present, and is much too lenient.

Captain A Layton
Making slavery the same offence as piracy [a hanging offence] would have a very good effect. When we let slavers go on the coast they are sometimes captured twice in a year [as they simply return to slaving].
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